On Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, students, faculty, and staff at Bakersfield College gathered to observe “Denim Day,” a campaign originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Since then, wearing jeans on “Denim Day” has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault (http://denimdayusa.org/about).
The BC community signed their statements of Zero Tolerance of sexual assault on stacks of jeans donated to the Office of Student Life. A media campaign was distributed throughout the campus, and faculty engaged students in their classrooms with discussion on societal views towards sexual assault. SGA President, Shelby Sward and I signed numerous copies of a Proclamation, to be shared with the various leadership teams throughout campus. Our comments emphasized the importance of a Zero Tolerance policy on sexual assault, BC’s commitment to campus safety, and the need to bring awareness to the misconceptions and false attitudes towards the truth about victim’s rights and what is consent.
This will become an annual event at Bakersfield College, where in one resounding voice, we say “ ’No’ means ‘No’.”